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Literature Review

Sustainable Development Approaches for

Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation
Community Capacity Building for Rural
Development and Poverty Alleviation
Christian R. Bueno Montaldo

background paper for

Community Capacity Building and Rural Governance
as part of the Master Program on Rural Society Leadership Development
for Global Poverty Reduction

May 2013 Wonju

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations


1. Sustainable Development approaches for rural development and poverty Alleviation. 1

1.1. History of Sustainable Development and its significance to Rural Development.

1.2. Theoretical and conceptual frameworks of Sustainable Development.

1.3. Key policy goals and dimensions of Sustainable Development.

1.4. What have been accomplished, challenges and barriers in implementing SD goals

1.5. Major institutions and players that should be transformed.

1.6. Key policy recommendations for Sustainable Development.

1.7. Implications of Sustainable Development in Peru

2. Community Capacity Building for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation

2.1. Sustainable community capacity building


2.2. ABCD concepts and model to support sustainable rural development


2.3. Case of ABCD in community development project: United we can.


2.4. Accomplishments and challenges of ABCD model.





List of Abbreviations


Asset based community development


Community Capacity Building


Commission on Sustainable Development


Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei


Global Scenario Group


Global Energy Assessment


Millennium Development Goals


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency


Sustainable Development


Sustainable Development Goals


Stockholm Environment Institute


United Nations


United Nations Conference on Environment and Development


United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs


United Nations Environment Programme


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural



United Nations Research Institute for Social Development


World Commission on Environment and Development


1. Sustainable Development approaches for rural development and poverty


1.1. History of Sustainable Development and its significance to Rural Development.

Although the origins of Sustainable Development (SD) can be traced to the seventies, is
in the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 (WCED or
Brundtland Commission) that the term is coined and also defined as development
that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their own needs (Le Blanc, D., et al. 2012:1). One of the defining
moments for SD was the UNCED, known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro
in 1992 with the agreement by member States to launch a process to develop a set of
sustainable development goals (SDGs) that could be a useful tool for pursuing focused
and coherent action on sustainable development (United Nations 2012:15; Le Blanc, D.,
et al. 2012:17).
But why sustainable development is significant for rural development? Poverty remains
a predominantly rural problem, with a majority of the worlds poor located in rural areas
(Dercon, S. 2009), it is estimated that 76 percent of the developing worlds poor live in
rural areas, well above the overall population share living in rural areas, which is only
58 percent (Janvry, A. de, E. Sadoulet, and R. Murgai 2002; Giovannucci, D., et al.
2012:6). Poverty greatly limits the quantity and quality of food that people can
purchase. Workers in developing countries often make only $1 - 2 per day, with
relatively less money in those regions, the economic demands for food is less, which in
turn results in lower levels of either food production or distribution (Sheaffer, C. and

Moncada, K. 2009:68-70). In the other hand environmental limitations like soil

resources, water and energy turn more difficult the scenario of rural area.
1.2. Theoretical and conceptual frameworks of Sustainable Development.
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development is the cornerstone of
Sustainable Development, a set of 27 principles promoted concepts such as the
centrality of human beings to the concerns of sustainable development (Principle 1); the
primacy of poverty eradication (Principle 5); the importance of the environment for
current and future generations and its equal footing with development (Principles 3 and
4); the special consideration given to developing countries (Principle 6); the principle of
common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR, Principle 7). It also enshrined the
two critical economic principles of polluter pays (Principle 16) and the precautionary
approach (Principle 15). It introduced principles relating to participation and the
importance of specific groups for sustainable development (Principles 10, 20, 21, 22)
(Le Blanc, D., et al. 2012 :1).
Twenty years later was celebrated the United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, was the agreement by
member States to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals
(SDGs) that could be a useful tool for pursuing focused and coherent action on
sustainable development.
Other frameworks like the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), are a clear
demonstration that world leaders can come together to address the major challenges of
our time not only war and nancial crisis, but also poverty (UNRISD 2010:3; Le
Blanc, D., et al. 2012 :16).

A difference between the MDGs and the SDGs is the degree of agreement that exists
among countries on the broad underlying objectives, as well between the contexts of the
MDGs and the SDGs is the prevalence of collective action problems at the heart of
sustainable development, and the frequent failure of countries at solving those problems
(Le Blanc, D., et al. 2012:17-20).
1.3. Key policy goals and dimensions of Sustainable Development.
High-level Panel on Global Sustainability of UN in 2012, establish the most uniform
and consistent review of principles related with any framework related with SD:

It should be universal in character, covering challenges to all countries rather than

just developing nations.

It should express a broadly agreed global strategy for sustainable development.

It should incorporate a range of key areas that were not fully covered in the MDGs

It should be comprehensive, reflecting three dimensions of SD

It should incorporate near-term benchmarks while being long-term in scope, looking

ahead to a deadline of perhaps 2030.

It should engage all stakeholders in the implementation and mobilization of


It should provide scope for the review of these goals in view of evolving scientific

In the other hand, during the present research the task to identify a set of measurable
indicators was difficult. Because indicators are elaborated starting from the dimensions
of sustainable development I found out that there is no uniform criterion among
organizations of the number and types of dimensions.

In Agenda 21, article 8.6 states that countries could develop systems for monitoring and
evaluation of progress towards achieving sustainable development by adopting
indicators that measure changes across economic, social and environmental dimensions
(United Nations 1992:Art. 8.6), ironically in further documents UN considers
institucionality like a fourth dimension (United Nations 2007:39-40).
UNESCO considers three dimensions of sustainable development named before and
also political dimension (democracy, politics, decision making).
Jon Hawkes in his book The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture's essential role in
public planning, contributes with Cultural dimension for SD, states if a societys
culture disintegrates, so will everything else. Cultural action is required in order to lay
the groundwork for a sustainable future.
1.4. What have been accomplished, challenges and barriers in implementing SD goals
The High-level Panel on Global Sustainability also elaborated a comprehensive analysis
about the progress in sustainable development, main indicators are described:

Economic growth and inequality: last decades the worlds overall GDP grew by 75
per cent, however inequality has grown continuously.

Poverty eradication: the world is comfortably on track to beat the MDG.

Forests: the rate of deforestation has decrease; however, the world is still losing
forest cover at an alarming rate.

Oceans resources: overfishing now being classified as overexploited, or fully

exploited, a situation substantially worse than two decades ago.

Climate change: annual global CO2 emissions grew 38 per cent between 1990 and
2009 and would lead to a likely temperature increase

Biodiversity and ecosystems: evidence show that most habitats are in decline and
the rate of species extinction appears to be accelerating.

Gender: women have seen substantial improvements in rights, education, health, and
labor opportunities, but there are still persistent differences across all societies.

Education: remarkable progress has been made in education worldwide. Globally,

literacy rates are improving, but progress is slow.

Hunger: global food production has kept pace: today enough food is produced to
feed all of us comfortably; however, access to food is another story.

The last decades were characterized by dramatic changes in technology that has
influenced other spaces of the science, customs and cultural relations, and collateral
effects in the environment, that creates new scenarios and challenges:

Environmental and Social Costs of the Green Revolution (Institute for Food and
Development Policy 2009).

Climate change: is a risk to all countries and individuals.

Environmental degradation: expressed as loss of fertile soils, desertification,

unsustainable forest management, etc.

Changes in the global economy: The interconnectedness of the global economy

means that no country is immune to events in the larger global economy.

Accountability and responsiveness: authorities at all levels are encountering new

challenges from citizens who question whether they are acting in the long-term
public interest.

Nature and life support in 2050: Two thirds of world population living under water
stresses, global deterioration of urban air pollution (UNDESA 2012:6).

Food security: chronic hunger is fundamentally not an issue of just more food; it is
an issue of access. Waste may be the single most important area that can be
addressed with relative ease (Giovannucci, D., et al. 2012:8).

1.5. Major institutions and players that should be transformed.

Continuous changes in world are pushing all institutions concerned with sustainable
development to be transformed; non-governmental actors have also become key players
in international relations and sustainable development. in the private sector, progressive
companies are moving away from the voluntarism of corporate social responsibility
and towards much harder-edged, genuinely systemic approaches - both in their own
activities (such as main-streaming sustainability in supply chains through the use of
standards or joining voluntary emissions trading markets) and in their public policy
lobbying (for example, coalitions of companies demanding tougher emissions targets
and greater long-term certainty in environmental regulation and pricing). Many global
and national civil society organizations and movements are breaking out of single-issue
portfolios and searching for more cross-cutting agendas. These organizations have
crucial roles to play in influencing and implementing sustainable development at both
the national and global levels, as well as the potential to open up more political space
for sustainable development.
Nowadays a special phenomenon can change not only the attention but also
participation of individuals in SD, the explosive growth of social networking
technologies is continuing to empower individuals and to have highly unpredictable
political consequences. if used responsibly, these technologies could unlock positive
political outcomes, particularly if crowdsourcing platforms enable more collaborative,

participatory and transparent approaches to governance and decision-making (UN

Secretary-Generals High-level Panel on Global Sustainability 2012 :27).
1.6. Key policy recommendations for Sustainable Development.
Given the available evidence and scenarios, what can be said of the role of international
cooperation in finding solutions to sustainable development challenges? According with
Le Blanc a framework for international cooperation that aims to support sustainable
development would necessarily put a heavy emphasis on three dimensions: (i) the need
to eradicate poverty and hunger; (ii) the global ecological footprint of humanity; and
(iii) the management of global commons. Ideally, such a framework should be adapted
to the challenges of the future.
The adoption of sustainable development without renunciation of other objectives has
translated into resistance from institutions at all levels to fully accommodate sustainable
development as a guiding framework for their operations, which has resulted in the
creation of dual or parallel tracks in many areas. Economic and nancial governance
has remained rmly outside of the remit of sustainable development. It has continued to
function largely untouched by the concepts of sustainable development, both at the
international and national levels.
UN Secretary-Generals High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, UNDESA (2012)
and Giovannucci, D., et al., states the following recommendations for Sustainable

Conserve resources and promote renewable energies


Empowering people

Education and skills for sustainable development

Strengthening institutional governance

Integration of goals

Recommendations to food security

1.7. Implications of Sustainable Development in Peru

Peru is one of the 10 megadiverse countries in the world; it has the second largest
Amazon forest, the most extensive tropical mountain range, 84 of the 104 life zones
identified in the planet and 27 of the 32 world climates. It is also rich in glacier areas
(71% of the tropical glaciers of the world) of utmost importance for human, agriculture,
mining and electric power generation consumption. However due to the global warming
during the last 35 years glaciers have lost over 22% of their surface, increasing the
water stress problem generated by the uneven distribution of the population in the
country, as most of the national population is settled on the Pacific side, which only
receives 2% of the water resources of the territory.
At the same time, Peruvian economy is passing a dream period of successful growth, in
2012 Peru record one of the lowest inflation in the region. The excellent performance of
world prices in minerals, the principal resource of Peru, produced an expansion of its
international monetary reserves, putting the country in position to afford without
problems all its debt; in the other hand the increase of industrial and service activities
were traduced in a better collection of taxes.
Poverty rates had decreased in the last 7 years from 58.7% to 27.8% (National Institute
of Statistic and Informatics) , however the inequity distribution of wealth shows one of
its greatest contrasts along the Sierra region, the peruvian highlands with 8.7 million

inhabitants (32% of the national population) owns 62.3% of the rural population in
poverty, while 22.6% are extremely poor.
The Millennium Development Goals have been incorporated as the general framework
of the social policy of Peru. The economic growth of Peru has contributed to progress in
MDG goal 1 ("eradicate extreme poverty and hunger"); however, it has had no influence
on reducing inequalities and extreme poverty, which is still high in the rural areas of our
country, where vulnerability to climate change is evident. Regarding to MDG 7 ("ensure
environmental & sustainability") progress has been made between 2004 and 2008 in the
legal and political framework.
The milestone is the creation of the Ministry of Environment in May 2008. Within the
scope of mitigation, progress has been achieved with regard to economic growth that
has resulted in the reduction of emissions, such as the promotion of renewable energy
and biofuels. Also has been generated, more information regarding with vulnerability
and formulation of policies to adaptation; however, these are the first steps toward s
ensuring environmental sustainability, considering that Peru is highly vulnerable to
climate change.

2. Community Capacity Building for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation

2.1. Sustainable community capacity building
Among literature related with Community Capacity Building (CCB), Antonella Noya
give us an interesting concept, stating that in essence, CCB is a process of enabling
those living in poverty to develop skills and competencies, knowledge, structures, and
strengths, so as to become more strongly involved in community, as well as wider
society life, and to take greater control of their own lives and that of their communities.

However the author warn to lectors that obscured con-notations has also emerged,
especially when third parties interests darkens the welfare of the community. CCB is
essentially, therefore, not a neural technical process: it is about power and ideology and
how these are meditated through structures and processes.
2.2. ABCD concepts and model to support sustainable rural development
ABCD is a path that leads toward the development of policies and activities based on
the capacities, skills, and assets of lower income people and their neighborhoods
(Kretzmann, J. and McKnight, J. 1993:5).
Related to these are additional needs for the development of listening skills,
understanding issues of capability and power, learning to step back, learning to ask
about what people have done well and learning not to judge, criticize or rush (O'Leary,
T. 2006:6).
An approach of ABCD model used by the Ford Foundation which supports grantees in
building assets that individuals, organizations, or communities can acquire, develop,
improve, or transfer across generations. These include:

Financial holdings of low-income people, Natural resources such as forests, wildlife,

land, and livestock that can provide communities with sustain- able livelihoods, are
often of cultural significance and provide environmental services such as a forests
role in cleansing, recycling, and renewing air and water.

Social bonds and community relationsthe social capital and civic culture of a
placethat can break down the isolation of the poor, strengthen the relationships
that provide security and support, and encourage community investment in
institutions and individuals.


Human assets such as the marketable skills that allow low-income people to obtain
and retain employment that pays living wages; and comprehensive reproductive
health, which affects peoples capacity to work, overcome poverty, and lead
satisfying lives.

2.3. Case of ABCD in community development project: United we can.

This is an illustrative case presented by Ann Dale and Lenore Newman, in the
Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, a community with intractable problems of drug
addiction, mental health issues, persistent poverty and homelessness. The name of the
network is United We Can, targeting binners who dive into the large blue garbage bins
for recyclables to return to retailers for cash.
With a first donation of $150.00 organize a one-day bottle depot in a local park. Their
objective was to pay street people to bring in empty cans and bottles which at that time
were non-refundable, each of divers were paid a maximum of $10.00 for their nonrefundable, the activity was a complete success. The Harcourt administration in 1991
expanded the deposit refund system for beverage containers, again, street people lined
up for the workshops at local community centers, and binners realized from these
workshops that they could create their own deposit system.
Over a period of five years, the initial core network evolved to become a legal nonprot organization. The group approached VanCity Community Loan Fund for a line of
credit, which was eventually secured; $12,500 from VanCity itself and $12,500 from a
benefactor. United We Can was established as a formal depot in 1995 in that first year,
4.7 million containers were recycled putting $360,000 back into the community
through handling fees. The charitable side was created in 1996 and United We Can has
evolved into a social enterprise, since this time. Today, United We Can employs thirty11

three people full-time, most of whom had not been previously employable. The
enterprises annual revenue is 1.6 million dollars, and they recycle 50,000 bottles a day.
There are currently four other business streams in development. The Collection
Services, with the use of truck and tricycle hauling, is now offering container collection
directly from larger volume commercial and residential consumers in the downtown
This article focuses on the exogenous factors evidence was clear that leadership and his
ability to augment his communitys linking social capital s. In addition, his outstanding
communications skills and his ability to communicate to diverse stake- holders from
multiple sectors are also contributing factors.
2.4. Accomplishments and challenges of ABCD model.
Across the world participatory approaches to development such as asset based and
livelihood approaches have moved from locally successful projects into scaled up
programmes promoted by local regional government and international agencies such as
the World Bank (O'Leary, T. 2006:4).
ABCD model has accomplished a wide range of success cases around the world and
disparities conditions. Under the scope of sustainable community capacity building, the
analysis fulfills the three dimensions of sustainability, as social, economic and
environment. However as was mentioned before still remains some challenges including
the manipulation of communities, misappropriation of terminology, co-option of
activists, conditional funding and state controlled power games such as divide and rule
have also emerged.



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